Photo Credit: Flash 90
Security personnel search Palestinian Authority Arabs at checkpoint. (illustrative)

A group of Arabs and anti-Israel activists invited reporters to watch them attempt to cross a security border without the necessary permits. The group was arrested outside of Jerusalem.

Dozens of reporters joined the 6 Palestinian provocateurs, who had boarded a public bus bound for Jerusalem without the necessary permits which enable Arab residents of Judea and Samaria to pass through Israel’s security checkpoints.

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When denied passage through the Hizme checkpoint between southern Samaria and Jerusalem, the demonstrators – who dubbed themselves “Freedom Riders” –  refused to disembark the bus.  They were eventually removed by police officers and taken to a police station in Jerusalem.

As a result of a surge of suicide bombings conducted by non-Israeli Arabs against Israeli civilians starting in 2000, Arabs living in Judea and Samaria have had to apply for permits to travel into the rest of Israel.

Tuesday’s incident was organized with the help of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and the B’Tselem pro-Arab rights organizations.  ISM members have been charged in the past with taking part in illegal and violent activities against IDF soldiers, as well as using subterfuge to enter the country.

An Israeli official responding to the staged event stated that permits can be applied for through government channels, and that restrictions on free travel through checkpoints is a result of security concerns.

David Ha’Ivri, Executive Director of the Samaria Regional Council Liaison Office, noted that the Arabs used Israeli public transportation to make their display.  “What is more ironic and hypocritical is that the mobilization for the “Freedom riders” […] is coming out of Ramallah, a city that has been under full control of the Palestinian Authority for the past 17 year and closed to Jews,” HaIvri told The Jewish Press.  “Bus lines to and from Ramallah are Arab only and do not offer transportation for Jewish residents of the area.”

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Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
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